Using Preview to Reorder Pages Within a PDF Document

We use PDFs all the time. We download them from the web, we receive them from friends and colleagues via email... they're integral to our everyday tech life. I love PDFs. One of the reasons I love the PDF format is because it bakes fonts and other styles right into the document. This means that the documents appears on someone else's computer exactly how it's supposed to, whether they have the fonts used in the document or not.

I also like the ease-of-use of the PDF format. It's easy to add pages, delete pages and reorder pages within the document. Most people don't know that these simple tasks can be done using Apple's built-in Preview app. As a result, I find that many people download Adobe's free Reader app (or even worse, they pay for Adobe Acrobat) to perform these simple functions.

By default, PDF files will automatically open in the built-in Preview app (the only reason they wouldn't is if you manually made a change to that setting or installed Adobe Acrobat or Acrobat Reader). When you first open a PDF file using Preview, it will look something like this:

In order to make changes to your document (add pages, delete pages or re-order pages), we must first change the view to "Thumbnails". This can be done by clicking on the icon in the top left corner, then choosing "Thumbnails" from the drop down list:

Once you have selected this view option, your document will look something like this:

On the right side, your document is still visible as it was before. On the left side, you will see thumbnail images of the pages within the document. The size of these thumbnails can be enlarged or shrunk by dragging the divider bar to the left or right. A smaller thumbnail will allow you to see more pages in the document.

To remove a page from your document, simply highlight the page on the left and press the delete key. To add a page to the document, simply drag the PDF page you want to add into the document, dropping it in the location you want to add it. For example, if you want to add another page between pages 3 and 4, drag and drop it between those pages.

To reorder pages within the document, simply drag the pages to the new order you want them to be in. It will look something like this:

When you're done, save the file and close Preview. It's that simple! If you haven't used Preview in this way before, you really need to give it a try. It may inspire you to adjust your current workflow a little, and will likely save you time and money.

Want to add your signature to your PDF file? It's simple and fun. Click here for step-by-step directions.

Posted on March 26, 2014 and filed under Design, How To, Mac.